HOT BLAST: A 'war on terrorists' turning point
May 24, 2013 | 1760 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Barack Obama speaks Thursday at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama speaks Thursday at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama "sought to turn the page on the era that began on Sept. 11, 2001, when the imperative of preventing terrorist attacks became both the priority and the preoccupation. Instead, the president suggested that the United States had returned to the state of affairs that existed before Al Qaeda toppled the World Trade Center, when terrorism was a persistent but not existential danger. With Al Qaeda’s core now “on the path to defeat,” he argued, the nation must adapt," reports a New York Times article today.

So, how's his speech playing?

BING WEST, THE CORNER: "The rationale for the speech was obvious: Forget Benghazi, the IRS, and wiretaps of journalists. Instead, let’s talk about drones, Guantanamo, and the irresolvable burdens of the commander-in-chief. Having not told the whole truth about the death of our ambassador to Libya, the IRS targeting of U.S. citizens, and the FBI targeting of journalists, the president wanted to change the subject and divert attention. The speech was cynical and sly."

MICHAEL O'HANLON, CNN: "It was an intelligent blend of the tone of his more idealistic speeches, such as the Cairo address of June 2009, with his more muscular messages like the December 2009 Nobel Prize acceptance speech."

TOM JUNOD, ESQUIRE: "Yesterday's speech was rhetorically important and rhetorically remarkable — a rhetorical step forward, as many commenters have said — but if the Lethal Presidency reminds us of anything, it's that we should be a long way from judging this president on his rhetoric or his portrayal of himself as a moral actor."

PAUL WALDMAN AND JAIME FULLER, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT: "There was certainly a good deal of vagueness—Obama said he wanted to work with Congress to figure out what to do about the remaining Guantanamo prisoners (good luck with that). He promised that some kind of oversight procedure to determine whether each individual drone strike is appropriate would be devised as well. But the most important thing to emerge from the speech may be that Obama effectively declared an end to the war on terror."

SPENCER ACKERMAN, WIRED: "President Obama’s big speech on the future of the war on terrorism yesterday contained a contradiction that threatens to tie his counter-terror policy is rather thick knots. First he said he prefers to capture detainees instead of killing them. Then he recommitted himself to closing the Guantanamo Bay  facility that houses those detainees — without offering an alternate prison. Welcome to a paradox."

JANE MAYER, THE NEW YORKER: "Obama’s speech has, at least, put the right questions on the table. Even [Northwestern University Law School professor Joseph] Margulies, who has been critical of Obama for not doing more to close Guantánamo in the past, admitted he was 'excited' by the speech. He said, 'All the high-flying rhetoric about values and ‘who we are,’ and national identity is great.' But, he said, 'Unless he follows up on it, it’ll all be for naught.' Much of the burden of moving forward, however, is not in Obama’s hands. Within minutes of his speech, conservatives on Capitol Hill had already begun jumping on him for having a 'pre-9/11 mindset'—as if, somehow, the 9/11 mindset should last forever."

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